Channel Manager: How To Choose (the Best One)?

Nina GlavićTourism Marketing
7 min read

How do you manage your distribution channels?

Are you a loyal journal buyer? Level Pro user of Microsoft Excel?

Without channel management technology, extranet logins are inevitable.

Manually updating and changing availability is, if nothing, time-consuming.

At the same time, you are limited by the number of hours per day you can manage availability. Even when you adopt and are ready to cope with all the pros and cons, there is that eternal risk of human error.

Delays in updating extranets can lead to a room or apartment being unavailable or a situation where you have to sell at a lower price, leading to lower revenue and overbooking.

How to choose a suitable channel manager? How to make the most of it for the individual needs of a hotel or apartment? How to find enough time to manage occupancy, update prices and maintain correct and accurate availability?

We know you know. Technology.

Channel Manager, more precisely. Designed to solve the universal problem, the channel manager will be an equally helpful solution for hoteliers and small and large vacation rentals.

Channel Manager is sophisticated software that automatically updates, changes availability, price, or limits online reservations. Updates are performed in real-time, without human intervention, and under centralized management.

Channel manager is a bonus.

There are no restrictions regarding channels on which you can list your property; the data is the same on all your extranets and transparent on the central calendar.

3 additional, equally crucial tasks that the channel manager will perform for you:

Assignment: Sales channel management, regardless of the mix of channels you use, is dynamically distributed according to current availability and sales goals.

Mapping: The channel manager software maps the room types to each channel’s formatting requirements. The channel manager maps the types of accommodation units so that the units are consistently displayed on all your channels. At the same time, this data is the same in the property management system. Manual adjustments will no longer be one of the tasks on your to-do list.

Updating property management system: The channel manager connects directly to the property management system while monitoring information regarding prices and availability – in real-time. Each new reservation arrives now in your central calendar, your property management system, without manual interventions or checks.

It only remains to choose. Wisely.

But unlike a simple list of channel manager benefits, choosing a specific solution and a provider is much more challenging.

What to consider when choosing a channel manager software?

The best Channel Managers are designed to reliably and accurately connect an unlimited number of channels, of which Booking.com, Airbnb, and Expedia are only the best known.

The channel manager will show the exact changes and status of your reservations and availability at all times:

Connectivity

The most important thing is to adopt a particular tool to your own needs.

That means that the solution you want must have an open API communication.

Although a relatively unknown term, the API is what allows you to use a different set of services. In other words, a Channel Manager without open communication will have no way of knowing that there have been new reservations made on your Booking.com listing. For example, there will be no way to know about a booking received through an Airbnb channel or the reservation changed for a later date.

Sale channels mix

Connecting with a wide variety of sales channels is always a good idea. Considering your guests, you are expected to show off your offer where your potential guests are. In theory, the more sales channels you list your accommodation offer, the more you expose it to potential guests.

In practice, the mix of channels you choose to use and on which you advertise your accommodation should suit your apartments or hotel and the habits of your guests.

Certain Channel Manager solution providers charge for connections to several channels, so check the likelihood of additional charges.

Some of the sales channels you can connect to Rentlio Channel Manager.

Preferred channel manager functionalities

Channel Manager software should be intuitive. It should be easy to use – for everyone, every generation and designed so that you can do everything by yourself. You will not need to waste time on support or additional education.

Other benefits of Channel Managers that are useful to look for and need are:

payment processing;

multiple currencies support;

reporting and analytics;

logging in and creating listings for your teams with different responsibilities and limitations.

Property management system and booking engine?

Channel Manager must be able to integrate or connect with the management software – property management system and a booking engine.

Integration with the property management system may not seem necessary, but it is essential. The new generation of specialized software, open to countless additional services, is flexible precisely because you do not have to use what you do not require. Or any other.

Tailor the system to your own needs.

This way, everything you use will synchronize. You can manage everything by logging into one system, saving countless hours, and avoiding manual errors.

How to choose a reliable partner?

Must-haves for choosing a reliable partner and Channel Manager provider:

Price

Every tech solution should fulfill a specific purpose, keeping in mind your financial possibilities. Additional commissions and additional channel merging fees are almost always too expensive for the returning profit amount.

Does the Channel Manager provider request additional commissions according to the number of reservations; does it use a subscription model? What is the general billing policy for a provider that suits your needs?

Onboarding process and support

Before making a final decision, you will want to know what you need to get started.

How long does the onboarding process take? Is there a process that guides you through it?

Is there a person who will guide you through this process initially? Is there an extra charge?

What kind of support does the provider that caught your eye offer? Is the documentation you should use to know the product further and continue using it as independently as possible up-to-date? Are the instructions understandable?

Product recognition

The leading online travel agencies have technology partners. Preferred or Premier Partners meet the highest technical standards to help users connect to sales channels quickly and reliably.

Also, it would be best if you had a provider that offers either some free period or a demo video of using the product itself. It would help if you tried out different business scenarios before deciding on the investment itself.

Data security

Channel managers manage sensitive information and should ensure maximum data security. When choosing a provider, inquire about PCI, DSS, SCA, and how GDPR is taken care of.

User reviews

Check out the reviews to check them out for any other product you buy. Relevant reviews for this type of product and service, such as channel manager, can be found on sites like Capterra.

Channel Manager Or the Foundation For a Successful Business

Channel manager is the cornerstone of successful revenue management, sales, and distribution strategy—the foundation of higher income, time savings, and human error elimination.

Whether you run a hotel, B&B, or several apartments, regardless size or complexity of business operations, it is crucial to be ahead of your guests.

In the end, guests can’t book something they can’t find 😉

Discover why more than 8,000 accommodation units of all types and sizes trust Rentlio’s automation solution. Try 30 days for free.

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Nina’s favourite colours are green, and unexpectedly – black. Forrest Gump is a movie that she will repeatedly watch, as if for the first time. As a true Customer Support Specialist, she perceives every challenge our customer has as her own, solving each with a smile 😊